Author: Barnaby Porter

Tawny, golden, geometric grace on the damp and luxuriant forest floor – thus we have ferns, so close to perfection in their form and habit that I am hard-pressed to fashion a deserving description of the soft, leaning stands of paling plants that greet my wanderings in October’s woods. I have marveled at them since I was a kid, and I still do. There are others of the same mind.

I stood in the woods only yesterday, preparing to cut more firewood. Reluctant to break the stillness (…)

If there is anything that speaks to the soul of summer, it is the singing of crickets. All is right with the world, they sing, and their chorus scissors on.

And nowhere does the soul of summer cling faster than in this country place called Maine. The crickets pluck those sentimental strings with all their hearts. I hear them now. The gentle chorus of late summer whispers (…)

It’s something people do hereabouts; they sit, and watch, and stare, and think . . . and, no other way to describe it really, they just quietly luxuriate in the peace and beauty of their surroundings. Meditation. And I don’t recall ever seeing more evidence of this phenomenon than I have up and down the length of this river of ours, the Damariscotta. (…)

Some years ago, an acquaintance from down the road came to me with a special request. She needed a flagpole, and in something of a hurry.

Her story was touching. It seems she lived with a friend, an elderly lady in her 80’s, who had lost her husband in World War II. I wasn’t told (…)

I’ve got to say; I probably lived the best summers a kid ever lived. There were lots of reasons. Most of them were cousins.

My grandfather and his brother married two sisters. That in itself was a formula for a close-knit family. But then my grandfather’s and great uncle’s sister, Madeline, also married with family on her mind. Those three marriages managed to produce 15 children, including my mother, three uncles and 11 (…)

This post is contributed by Coastal Rivers Trustee Barnaby Porter. Read the previous post here. Editor’s note: This piece is from Barnaby’s archive. Where does the lilac grow? Let’s see; it seems most anywhere, but that is not quite so. The truth is, lilacs have a past, a history and, more often than not, a story connected to where they are found. One might grow next to a summer porch, or just outside a kitchen door, or perhaps be lending its grace and shade to a garden or quiet cemetery. It could simply be hiding behind an old hen house. …

Where does the lilac grow? Read More »

Seasonal maintenance of property and equipment is very important. It is one of those aspects of country life that challenges our know-how and resolve to stay out of trouble and strive forward under control. There’s no room for lethargy and procrastination around here if we are ever to keep ahead of it all. And you know what “it all” is of course. (…)

Reviewing the winter now coming to a close, it seems fairly safe to judge it unusual, quite unusual. A winter with no snow, with no cold weather to speak of, could on the surface be taken as a gift if it didn’t put you on edge. Where’s the hitch? A return to normalcy would be reassuring.

A good old-fashioned spring might do the trick. But that would have to start with mud – soft, squishy (…)

Along with the lengthy spell of cold weather that has descended on our woods has come a state of suspended animation. A week-old snowfall remains on the tree boughs. The deep pack lies trackless except around the house and at the foot of the hill where our neighbor, Mr. fox, crosses the road on his daily rounds. The river has ceased to move. Frozen over and covered with (…)

And there are times when I wonder
What the essence of winter is
As if I must decide, of all its features
That which tells of winter best
And represents that token I would take
With me to remember winter by (…)